Approximately 800 representatives of water-related organizations and communities converged on the capital of Brazil for consultations towards the 8th World Water Forum in 2018, which takes place on the theme of Sharing Water.
The importance of Brazil for the debate of water-related themes was addressed by the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Marcelo Cruz. Cruz said, “Brazil has 12 per cent of the planet’s freshwater, and 60 per cent of cross-border river basins pass through Brazilian territory. These numbers place the country in an important and highlighted position in the world scene.”
Benedito Braga, president of the World Water Council, stressed to participants that, while water is managed locally, poor water management has global impacts.
The two-day stakeholder consultation, from 26-27 April, discussed topics to be included in the Forum programme and what further preparations will take place over the coming year. Speakers included the executive secretary for the Ministry of Environment of Brazil Marcelo Cruz, the secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil José Antonio Marcondes des Carvalho, the Brazilian senator Roberto Muniz, the chief justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court Herman Benjamin, and the presidents of World Water Council members, Vicente Andreu (ANA), Paulo Salles (ADASA) and Venilton Tadini (ABDIB).
Convened every three years, the next World Water Forum is scheduled for 18-23 March 2018. The 2018 Forum, which expects approximately 15,000 participants, will comprise some 100 sessions organized around nine themes that will be addressed through a combination of presentations, roundtables and expert-led discussions. Preparations leading up to the 2018 Forum will include a regional process, a political process, a Citizens’ Forum and a Sustainability Focus Group.
Introduced for the first time, the Citizens’ Forum will involve various social actors and perspectives on water to promote broad engagement and participation. Also for the first time, the World Water Forum is allowing for remote participation through an online platform. An initial round of discussions via the Your Voice platform, which allows anyone in the world to contribute ideas for meeting water-related challenges, received more than 20,000 visits and 555 contributions.
The World Water Council is an international think tank founded in 1996, with its headquarters in Marseille, France. It has 341 members which include organizations from the UN and intergovernmental organizations, the private sector (construction, engineering and manufacturing companies), governments and ministries, academic institutions, international organizations, local governments, and civil society groups. Founders and constituent members of the World Water Council include the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN), the International Water Association (IWA), Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, the United Nations agencies UNDP and UNESCO, and the World Bank.
Its stated mission is “to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making level, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management, and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on earth.”